A public service

Tony stared into his Smartphone, a double cappuccino cooling by his side. He crossed his legs, glad that they were hidden beneath the table. The door spun open, the wind howled outside. Al walked across the coffee shop, leant towards him and they puckered their lips together.

“What are you reading?”

“Something from South Africa. There’s a fella who punishes people, you know canes them, for a fee.”

“Nothing unusual in that.”

“No, he does it for a service to parents. He deals with their older unruly teenagers. Twentysomethings, too.”

Al smiled. Typical Tony, searching for spanking stories on the Internet again. “Doesn’t seem very likely, does it?”

“It’s here,” Tony nodded at the tiny screen as proof. “In a paper in Johannesburg.” He slipped his fingers to scroll to the top of the news report. “They’ve banned the cane in schools, so this fella takes the place of the headmaster. He’s doing roaring trade, apparently.”

“Fake news,” Al said with great authority, and when his pal stared back blankly, he continued, “They put up fake stories on Facebook and then people share and tweet them and they go viral. There was something about it on Sky News last night. It’s all a pack of lies.”

Tony shrugged, “It could be true.”

“Yeah right.”


Johan shuffled the final few yards to the house. He had found it easily. Far too easily. He couldn’t believe this was happening. His father must be crazy. The sun blazed on his back. He had left his school blazer at home, but as instructed he wore the rest of the uniform. At this time of year that meant an open-necked white shirt, pale-grey short trousers and not much else.  He was a star rugby player at school; built like an ox. He reckoned he was too big, too old, for this.

They had won a famous victory. They did what rugby players always do. They went out on the lash. Too much beer had been drunk. There had been some trouble at a bar, Johan couldn’t remember too much about it. It was the final straw. There had been warnings. Ignored by Johan.

“A trip to Dr. Uys will soon sort you out,” his father had it arranged already.

Johan paused at the gate to the house. Another young man stood forlornly at the doorstep. His short trousers reached half way to his knees. He must have stood six-feet-two at least.

They shared perfunctory nods, barely acknowledging each other, before the door eased open. Johan gulped a lungful of air and followed his companion, noting his blue-and-yellow-school blazer sticking to his back with sweat.

The hallway was large and circular, five wood-panelled doors – all firmly closed – dominated the interior. A spiral staircase led to three upper storeys. The air-con blasted Artic air. Johan shuddered; it was like being in an ice box.

“Face the wall,” Dr. Uys was a small man; his victims towered above him. He was wiry and beneath a black roll-necked sweater was a firm, hard body.

The boy in the striped blazer swivelled on his heels, placed his nose two inches from the wall, locked his fingers and placed them on the top of his head in typical naughty-boy style.

“Hands on head,” Dr. Uys spoke softly. He was a calm presence. He had no need for histrionics. He knew he would be obeyed.

“Well, Christiaan, I was astonished when your father telephoned me. After the last time, I thought you would never want to see me again. This is your third visit. Parents will believe that my methods do not work.” He paused to allow the import of his words to sink in. Christiaan tensed. “So, this time we must make sure that you learn. It will be on the bare. I have cut some fresh switches.”

Johan’s beige face blanched. He stared intently at the peeling plaster in front of his nose. This was unreal. He was eighteen years old for the love of Mike. In a moment, he would be expected to present his backside to this weird man and there was nothing he could do about it. His father was adamant. Johan would certainly get a rugby scholarship to the Varsity but it wouldn’t be enough. He would still need money from the family. He had to show he was serious. Take a beating and then improve his behaviour. Or else.

The beating? Would it hurt so much? His buttocks had been bruised before. South African rugby players had a spanking ritual. It started with the national team. If a player screwed up on the field or was late for training they would get a dose of the borsel, a heavy wooden clothes brush. Only last week three teammates had held Johan stark naked over a bench while the club captain pummelled his arse black and blue. Johan wanted to believe it made him a better player.

“Let’s get on with this, shall we?” Dr. Uys’ soft voice interrupted the boy’s thoughts. “Johan, follow me.” Johan watched, heart pounding, Dr. Uys move across the hallway and opened an oak-panelled door. He paused, realising the teenager had not moved. “Now, boy,” his calmness unnerved the boy. He couldn’t quite get his legs to move. “I shan’t ask again,” Dr. Uys purred.

It was a large dining room, with a table that ran almost its entire length. It could easily seat twenty people.

“Stand there,” Dr. Uys nodded to the head of the table, closest to the door. Johan’s eyes widened, his body shook. He had never seen a punishment cane before. It looked pretty awesome at a little over three feet in length, not counting the curved handle. It was as thick as a pencil and even from a distance Johan saw it was worn with use.

Dr. Uys had a little speech prepared. A litany of misdeeds was read; all Johan’s misbehaviours from the past months; minus some that thankfully for the boy his father had not discovered.

“Your father insists on an exemplary thrashing.”

Johan had no idea what “exemplary” meant, but could guess. His buttocks were to be ripped to shreds.

Saliva drained from his mouth as he heard the cane rattle against the walnut table when Dr. Uys picked it up. Dr. Uys swished the rod through the air at speed. Johan swallowed the last of the spit. It looked a mighty effective tool. The borsel would be nothing compared to this.

Dr. Uys rattled the cane against the desk. “Take down your trousers and bend over, please.” It sounded like a genuine request. “Please, if you feel that you’d like to, bend over for a flogging,” but the doctor expected, demanded, to be obeyed.

Tears pricked at the back of Johan’s eyes. There was no escape. No amount of pleading would save him. He had made his bed, now he must lie in it. If he wanted to be a rugby star one day, he would have to submit his backside to the cane.

Unable to look at the doctor and his wicked cane, Johan concentrated on unfastening the clasp at the top of his grey short trousers. The waistband was half elasticated and needed no belt. He fumbled with the zipper and they slithered down his thighs.

Dr. Uys watched intently. The pale-grey material fell to the floor revealing bright yellow underpants clinging to the rugby player’s meaty buttocks. The eighteen-year-old had some package, tightly secured at the front.

Johan hesitated. Was he to take down the briefs? Christiaan was due a bare-arsed thrashing. Dr. Uys sucked in breath and tapped the cane once more across the edge of the table. “Bend over.”

Johan was a tall young man, but not so much that he could reach the far edge of the huge table. He creased at the waist and stretched forward. Instinctively, he moved to grip the sides of the table, but this was futile, so he folded his arms and rested his head on them. He felt a movement and from the corner of his eye he watched his tormentor prepare himself.

He felt his shirt being lifted away from the target area up his back. A second fold took it to his shoulders. Johan’s body shuddered, partly through fear, but also because of the icy air-con.

“I shall deliver twelve strokes,” the doctor sounded like he was reading a script. “You must stay in position throughout until I instruct you to rise. If you move you will incur extra strokes. Do you understand?”

Johan had never heard the word “incur,” he was learning a lot that afternoon. He groaned. He could have said Yes; he might have said, No. Dr. Uys took it as an assent. He flexed the cane between his two hands and then “sawed” it across the centre of the teenager’s buttocks. A wry smile creased his lips when Johan’s buttocks tensed. He tapped the cane one-two-three watching Johan’s cheeks form a tight ball.


Thwack! Dr. Uys saw the boy’s body shiver, his hips writhed and his head threw back. Under the tight cotton a clear line rose up.

The doctor tapped twice more, a little to the south of the first cut, he drew back his arm and gave the next cut. Johan was ready for it. His body flinched, but his head did not move. He groaned. This was way worse than anything he had endured from his rugby teammates.

At stroke five, the doctor delivered a perfect hit into the underside of Johan’s buttocks, just where they joined the thighs. A dark red line immediately glowed across bare flesh. Johan shrieked, “A-a-a-a-argh shit!” and his body bounced up and down across the shiny table top. He bit deep into his forearms. His legs kicked. His feet marched up and down on the spot, like a soldier on guard duty.

“Calm. Stay calm.” The doctor’s voice was soothing. He rather admired the teenager before him. He was taking his first-ever caning rather well, he thought. Other boys had run screaming from the room at this point.

He lined up the swishy rattan cane once more and gave a couple of light taps and waited two or three seconds. Then, Swish! This one hit the meatiest part of the globes. It sank into the flesh and bounced out again, leaving a deep cut behind. Johan howled. Tears like young rivers cascaded down his face. Vomit clogged the back of his throat. He swallowed hard just in time to stop it spewing across the table top.

Dr. Uys paused. The boy’s bright yellow underpants were spotted with orange. They clung to his firm round bottom by a combination of sweat and blood.

Johan lost count of the strokes, but Dr. Uys had not. He was a man of his word; he delivered twelve almighty stingers across the underpants of the troublemaking teenager. The final of the dozen, he placed at a diagonal so the rattan whipped into Johan’s already red-raw flesh reigniting the pain endured by all eleven previous strokes.

The boy’s bum was numb. It throbbed so badly that oddly he no longer felt the agony. It felt like his buttocks had swollen to twice their natural size. He lay face-down across the table, his arms drenched in spit and tears, sobbing quietly, unaware of his surroundings.

Dr. Uys replaced the cane on the table top. “You may rise.” When the boy made no attempt to move, he translated, “Get up. It’s over. Get dressed.”

Slowly, the eighteen-year-old hauled himself to a standing position. He stumbled and gripped the edge of the table for support. He gulped air into his lungs, bent like a hairgrip and holding onto his knees he wheezed a recovery and tugged his short trousers over his buttocks, wincing all the while.

“Wait there,” the doctor was anxious to deal with his next culprit. He ambled across the room and picked up a document and a ballpoint pen. He handed it to the boy who could not bear to look his punisher in the eye.

“It is for your father, to prove I have fulfilled my contract.” Johan’s hands shook. He scrawled something; he could not form a signature, but it would have to do.

“Follow me.”

Unsteadily, Johan shambled behind the doctor across the hall. Christiaan who still faced the wall with his hands on his head turned his body, his face deathly pale. Dr. Uys, opened the front door wide. For Johan, the day was over. Not so for Dr. Uys; he still had work to do.


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The cartoonist’s painful memory

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The Gaffer of the Academy: 1. Beginnings



More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website


Charles Hamilton the Second



The Tyrant Headmaster 6. The rugby match

St. Septimius Independent Grammar School is going to the dogs. Send for Dr. Fortescue, the Tyrant Headmaster. He knows how to turn a school round. And he intends to start at the very top – with the prefects.

Click below to read previous episodes

1 The boy in the bar

2 A new beginning

3 The prefects’ reckoning

4 Smoking on Saturday

5 Back in short trousers


Martin Bough stepped off the bus. The schoolboys surrounding him were surprisingly well-behaved. The pupils at his last school would often riot in the street. A group of sixth-formers, he could tell by their prefect badges, stood to one side to let him through the wrought iron gates. Bough stopped to drink in the view. Some parts of St. Septimius dated back to the eighteenth century, he had heard. Gumshoe Lane had been built only three years ago.

He followed the boys in their distinctive blue blazers with white braiding. Everything about the place oozed class to Bough. He had definitely landed on his feet. He walked through the quadrangle and into the building known as the clock tower. His new patent leather shoes echoed on the stone steps as he made his way to the headmaster’s study. It was some walk. He imagined centuries of naughty schoolboys summoned to the Beak’s Study. The place was so ancient, he could visualise a punishment block sitting in the corner of the room and a special cupboard housing birch rods, freshly cut each morning by the school gardener.

Dr. Fortescue greeted his new junior master with little enthusiasm. Bough had been dismissed from his previous school in uncertain circumstances. He had come to St. SIGS for a fresh start. Dr. Fortescue told people he believed in rehabilitation. Few believed him, since his reputation with the whippy rattan cane was legendary.

“This is no ordinary school,” Dr. Fortescue looked his visitor up and down. He was a young man, he looked not much older than the sixth-formers at his school. Dress him in the fancy school uniform and you wouldn’t know the difference, Dr. Fortescue thought.

“We have a large number of boys and many masters. When I get a junior master, who has come to me for extra training, I like to throw him in at the deep end.”

Bough nodded enthusiastically, although he was far from certain what “deep end” meant.

“I must warn you that my methods of training here are somewhat unconventional.”

Bough blanched.

“I shall place you in charge of a group of sixth-form boys. Many will be leaving school soon and are in need of extra tuition for their university entrance examinations.”

Bough’s mood lightened. Sixth-formers; that would be a relief. In his previous school, he had been unable to maintain discipline among the younger boys. Eighteen-year-old boys, intent on studying seriously, should afford him no problem.

“Indeed,” the headmaster continued, “Some would say my methods are darn-right strange.” He let the word “strange” roll around his tongue. “In fact, my methods have sometimes proved so strange that some young masters have become really scared and they have asked my permission to leave the school. I must warn you that is a request I never grant.”

Bough stared at the man sitting before him. He was middle-aged man a grim complexion. His moustache needed trimming and what little of his hair visible beneath his mortar-board cap appeared to have been dyed black. He did look a strange fellow, Bough conceded.

Dr. Fortescue pulled his academic gown around his body and continued, “If you come to me for training you undertake to stay for at least three months. You must bank a fairly large sum of money in my name. If you leave the school without permission, then I simply take the money. If you finish your course with me, the money is returned to you.”

Bough knew this already. St. Septimius was so highly regarded he knew that he would be able to get a position quite easily after training with Dr. Fortescue. He had no intention of absconding and he told the headmaster so.

“Good boy,” he muttered. He seemed to be losing interest in the junior master standing before him. “Better get across to see Mr. Golightly, the Head of Sixth Form. He’ll assign you your duties. Go to Old School.” And, without waiting for a reply, the headmaster turned his attention to a pile of correspondence on his desk.

“Old School” was no older than any other part of the school. The whole place reeked of history. Bough retraced his steps to the quadrangle and entered a small building. Its mullioned windows gave it the air of a cave. Little natural light ever got into the schoolrooms. He had no idea where exactly to find Mr. Golightly, but he would ask the first boy he saw.

He stood in the entrance to the building. The passageways were deserted, classes were in session. Bough wandered down the first passageway he found. It was narrow and dark. Ahead he heard a familiar sound. Swish! Crack! Swish! Crack! He peered into the gloom. It was coming from a room near the far end of the passageway. He stopped at a half-opened door.

Swish! Crack! Swish! Crack! Four young men were bent across a form side by side. Behind them a tall, powerfully-built schoolmaster was swiping a thick rattan cane across each backside. One after another. He flogged the cane down into one stretched trouser seat and then moved along the line to the next sixth-former.


Each boy took his swipes a little differently. One boy with a thin, bony bottom appeared in agony each time the swishy cane bit deep into his bottom. His next-door companion, a young man with plenty of flesh covering his backside, took his thrashing more stoically.

In time, the master barked a command and the four boys painfully rose. Bough could see each one wanted to rub vigorously away the pain from his backside. That would have to wait. Schoolboy codes of honour in every school in the land said a chap must never let a master know he has been hurt.

They were dismissed and four ashen-faced youngsters with blazing eyes filed past Bough, each one showing him deep resentment that he had witnessed their humiliation.

“You must be Bough. Golightly,” the schoolmaster said by way of introduction. “Sixth-formers. Absconders,” he said to a question that had only been asked with Bough’s eyes. “The good doctor spoke against skiving into town during study periods. From now on, rule breakers get an automatic Six.” Distractedly, he swiped the cane through empty air. From where Bough stood it looked an awesome weapon. The four lads, who by now were in the bogs comparing their marks, must be very sore indeed, Bough concluded. Absent-mindedly, he gently touched his own buttocks with his thumbs.

“So, Bough,” Golightly tucked the cane under his arm and started to leave the room, “I’ve got a little task for you.” He paused and looked back over his shoulder at the junior master. “Rugby.” The silence was deafening. Bough looked blank.

“You’re a fit young fellow. None finer,” Golightly blustered. Martin blushed, he wasn’t used to older men complimenting him on his looks. “I want you to take over the Rugby XV. You won’t believe it but Sergeant Tucker, the school’s coach, has gone and broken his leg. Ironic, eh?” he frowned. “Some sort of accident at home.”

Martin Bough gaped. Rugby? He didn’t know the first thing about the game.

“We’ve got the most important match of the year coming up. St. Tom’s. Local public school. Great rivals. Always have been. Grammar versus Public, you know the sort of thing.”

Bough didn’t know, but he wasn’t about to admit it on his first day. School traditions were very important. And, St. Septimius had many. Traditional curriculum, traditional uniforms and traditional games. And, as he had just witnessed, traditional discipline.

“Good lad,” Golightly called as he hurried away, cane tucked under his arm, to his next class.

Clouds gathered in the sky as Martin Bough trudged toward the sports fields. Soon, a heavy drizzle fell. It summed up the junior master’s mood perfectly.

A rugby match is more than thirty violent young men beating hell out of each other. It is also a game of tactics. By the day of the great game St. Septimius had the thugs, but not the finesse. They suffered a heavy defeat.

Dr. Fortescue waved a whippy rattan cane above his head as he roared across the playing field toward the changing room. Present pupils and Old Boy’s alike cleared a path and stood in awe as the headmaster, his ancient gown flowing in the wind, and his mortar-board cap unsteady on his head, raced on his mission.


“No boy is to get changed,” he roared as he entered the wooden pavilion. “Not until I have dealt with each and every one of you.” He swished his cane violently to emphasise his message. Fifteen sixth-formers gawked. Dr. Fortescue’s cheeks were scarlet, sweat poured down his face, his breathing was laboured.

Tony Masterton, the Rugby XV Captain, tried to speak first. “But, Sir …” he trailed off, uncertain what it was the headmaster wanted. Other boys hopped from foot to foot in embarrassment. Dr. Fortescue took a deep lungful of air and began his tirade.

“Never before in the history of the school,” he began, ignoring the fact that he had arrived only months earlier, “has the Rugby XV been so lacking in heart.” They were “slack”, “inept”, “cowardly”, “clumsy” and “ham-fisted”. Most of all, “You let the school down. The Old Boys will be ashamed.”

Fifteen eighteen-year-old sixth-formers stood dumbfounded. They had played their best, but their coach Mr. Bough had sent them out unprepared. It was hardly their fault. But, how could they tell the headmaster that. He was not a man to listen to reason.

“Stand by the wall. All of you.” Dr. Fortescue swiped his cane. He would brook no nonsense. Reluctantly, but defeated, the boys shuffled across the pavilion. None dared even mutter a protest.

“Masterton, you’re club captain, you go first. Step forward.” The headmaster pointed with the tip of his cane to a point in the middle of the room. Tony Masterton sucked in his breath. How he wished he could tell the vile Dr. Fortescue where to get off. But he was a mere schoolboy, the power laid with his tormentor. If he refused to take a thrashing either he would be expelled from school or the headmaster would summon boys to force him down and the resultant flogging would put him in the sanatorium.

Masterton took three steps forward and stopped. He swivelled on his heels so his back was now towards Dr. Fortescue and he bent down, stretching his fingers so they brushed the toecaps of his muddy boots. He had assumed the traditional subservient position of schoolboys throughout history; head low, bottom high, ready to receive a thrashing from the headmaster’s cane.

Masterton was a beefy boy and he presented a large target for Dr. Fortescue who “sawed” his cane across the very centre of the boy’s bottom. The cotton shorts were quite thin and the rugby players wore no underwear; only bottomless jockstraps held their manhood in place. Swipe! The rattan whipped deep into the stretched flesh presented to the headmaster. Through the shorts, he saw a thick welt appear. He slashed a second cut a quarter of an inch lower. Masterton’s bum was on fire. It felt like someone had pressed a red-hot wire into it. The agony was intense, but the eighteen-year-old wouldn’t give his headmaster the satisfaction of knowing he was in pain. Nor, would he show himself up in front of his fellows.

Six of the very best cuts sliced his arse open. His face was ashen and his eyes blazed when he straightened up and returned to the line, but he showed no other sign of distress. He had played a captain’s innings.

“Talbot, you next.” A smaller, thin boy stepped forward and took his captain’s place, bent double staring at the old floor boards beneath his feet. His resentment was intense. One day, he vowed, as the whippy cane carved him pen, he would return to the school as an Old Boy and beat the living daylights out of Fortescue. That was a promise.

Dr. Fortescue was as strong as an ox and seemed not to tire thrashing the backsides of fifteen rugby players. Later, when the boys compared their stripes, they agreed that Axford who was the last to go was as badly marked as Masterton who had gone first.

Martin Bough skipped away from the pavilion. He knew to make himself scarce. He wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Fortescue were to call him to be the sixteenth man to touch his toes that afternoon.


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Charles Hamilton the Second



The coach and the schoolmaster

Coach Needham missed being able to spank the backsides of his rugby players: it had very nearly won them the league.

He hadn’t started it; there was already a tradition at Barnaby Rugby Football Club where the guys would whack the arses of newcomers with a heavy clothes brush. He supposed it was following some American frat house initiation, but it turned out it was something South African Springbok rugby players used to do: they might still be doing it for all he knew.

The coach wasn’t involved; it was one of those “secret” rituals that everyone knew about. Nobody complained, not even when some of the lads were over-eager and beat one new boy black and blue, leaving him in tears.

The lads at Barnaby were mostly in their late teens and early twenties; the club was professional, but in one of the minor leagues, a long way from the Springboks. The guys were well used to corporal punishment, the cane was widely used in schools and the Coach doubted if there was a backside in the team that hadn’t felt the sting of a schoolmaster’s rattan at least once or twice.

He didn’t know how it happened because it wasn’t planned, but the clothes brush soon became a regular motivator at training sessions or after matches. Say, a guy hadn’t been pulling his weight in a game, if his team mates complained later the lazy player would be made to bend over a vaulting horse and Coach Needham would set his buttocks on fire.

All the players seemed to accept it, it did wonders for team spirit, and the Coach firmly believed it did motivate the guys to do better in future; these were severe spankings, they weren’t blowing smoke here.

The team were having a great season and Needham was convinced his little motivation sessions had a lot to do with it; they might even win the league the way things were going. Then, it all collapsed. It wasn’t his fault, the Coach told anyone who would listen; it was that pillock Trump.

Trump was one of their wingers and he had a dreadful game, he fumbled the ball just about every time he got it and he was easily tackled when he tried to race down the pitch.

The whole team was moaning at the end of the match and some of the lads even reckoned he had been drinking before the game. If that were true, Coach Needham would have thrown him off the team, but there was no proof so he had to let it go.

What he couldn’t let go was his captain’s demand that they put Trump over the horse and warm up his backside. The Coach was up for it, but he didn’t know about Trump, he was a bit of a wimp and might not go through with it.

He was wrong, he hadn’t accounted for peer pressure: if Trump refused to take his punishment the other lads would have ostracised him and a player couldn’t survive at the club like that.

“Right, lads,” Coach Needham announced, “Let’s give Trump his spanking.” That was the cue for the whole team to gather round the horse to get a prime view of the boy’s bottom.

Everyone could see Trump was petrified; he did not want to be doing this. The lads weren’t bothered about that; three or four of the onlookers had themselves been over the horse this season, they had felt the agony of the brush but they had let their friends down and knew they had deserved what they got.

“Come on Trump, bend over.”

Very reluctantly the boy stepped up, leaned his stomach on the top of the horse and lowered himself across; he grabbed on to the handles and closed his eyes. He was as ready as he ever would be for his spanking.

There was no great ceremony; Coach Needham picked up the brush and approached the boy. All he could see was Trump’s backside, his head was blocked from view. His shorts were clinging tightly to his cheeks and everyone in the audience could see the outline of Trump’s jockstrap: there wasn’t much there to protect him.

The Coach pulled at the waistband to make the shorts even tighter, took a step back, raised his arm high and brought down six crackers into Trump’s arse, so quickly a sound like machinegun bullets echoed round the room.

Trump let out a squeal that started when the first whack ignited a fire on his left cheek and continued long after the last blow assaulted his right. It felt like his entire arse had been set alight; he couldn’t help himself from bawling his eyes.

His team mates, embarrassed by the spectacle, melted away to get changed, leaving Trump running up and down on the spot in a useless attempt to stop the agony.

Trump’s mother complained to the club two days later. Coach Needham was incredulous when the chairman called him in. “He’s twenty-two years old for Christ sake; don’t tell me he went running to his mummy and said, ‘Look what the nasty man’s done to my bot-bot.’”

But he had; and now she was going to sue the club; she was also talking about calling the police to charge Needham for assault.

The club wanted Needham to resign, go quickly and the club would smooth it over with Trump, maybe offer him some money as an out-of-court settlement.

Needham was furious; they were making him a scapegoat. Lots of people knew about the spanking games at the club, nobody had complained. They were all adults after all; he wasn’t like that coach who was in the news for spanking thirteen-year-olds in the back of his van.

He had no choice but to leave that day. He was out of work for a long time and had to move to the other side of the country before he could get his present job, coaching a bunch of lousy part-timers.

They were a badly motivated crew; some of them skipped training when they felt like it; others treated the team as a social club; just a place to meet their friends, they weren’t bothered about the rugby.

Coach Needham itched to put that clothes brush across one or two (no, more like eight or nine) backsides: he knew from experience at Barnaby’s it would work. It would literally lick them into shape.

One day after a particularly unproductive training session, he was alarmed to see a dapper middle-aged man waiting for him outside the changing room. The man looked so like a lawyer, he thought his past at Barnaby’s was about to catch up with him.

He tried to dodge the man, but there was nowhere to run.

“Excuse me, are you Coach Needham?” he even sounded like a lawyer. “My names Peterson; I’m Roy Peterson’s father.”

Roy was one of the team’s more promising players; one of those who took his training and the game seriously. Or more truthfully; he used to. Recently, he had become distracted and had even missed a training session last week with no excuse.

“Can I buy you a drink?”

They drove to a pub, wanting to avoid ones nearby where the players might be drinking.

Mr Peterson talked about his son. He believed he could have a future in rugby and play professionally and wanted advice on the best way to make this happen. The coach agreed this was a possibility, but he needed to buck his ideas up and knuckle down to training.

“He’s been missing training and he’s not putting the effort in.” He didn’t say that a damned good spanking would soon put him back on track, but it would.

Mr Peterson was angry, he had been subsidising his son for two years; allowing the boy to work part-time so he could concentrate on his rugby and he even lived with his parents rent free. And, this was how they were repaid. He would deal with his son later.

What Coach Needham didn’t know was that Mr Peterson was a schoolmaster at the local grammar school. He had seen the boys around town in their smart green blazers; the younger boys even wore grey short trousers. Needham had thought they went out of fashion years ago; but St Francis was a traditional school; traditional religion; traditional games; traditional teaching methods; and traditional discipline.

Peterson, as did Coach Needham, believed in the efficacy of corporal punishment: it really worked on the young and helped them to learn discipline. If a boy did not have self-discipline it could be imposed on him: with a whippy cane across the backside.

Peterson caned boys at St Francis and in the past he had also caned his son at home.

He believed in rules and obedience to them and he ran Roy’s life at home rather like a boarding school. There were set times to get up, to go to bed, to eat meals and there was a curfew for coming home at night. Roy knew the rules and he knew the punishment for breaking them.

The rules had been relaxed after Roy left school two years ago, but, after hearing about the boy’s absences from training, Peterson could see he would need to reimpose them.

Roy was not entirely surprised when his father announced he would cane him for missing training. He had been beaten often when he was much younger; St Francis was a “caning school” and the rattan was used very liberally, but he was about fifteen years old the last time he felt its sting on his bum.

Even at home his father caned his backside when he broke the rules; the last time was for defiance when he was eighteen. Roy had wanted to go to a concert with friends, but it would mean travelling out of town and missing his curfew deadline. His father refused to allow him home late, but Roy defied him and went anyway.

He knew the consequences would be a caning; he had received a few in the past, he knew how much it would hurt, you never get used to the pain of the cane, but he thought he could take it.

But, he wasn’t prepared for his father’s fury. It wasn’t the broken curfew that enraged him, it was the defiance of his clear instruction that he could not go to the concert. It had been a test of wills between the pair of them and there must only be one winner.

It was the first (and he hoped, the last) time Roy was caned on the bare buttocks; twelve lashes of the biggest and thickest cane his father could find at the school.

Now, he was facing his father once more. He had no excuses to offer for his behaviour; he was guilty of letting his mother and father down. He knew, but didn’t say out loud, he was struggling in the adult world. As a boy growing up there were rules and painful consequences for breaking them. He knew if he skipped school, or didn’t do his homework; he would be beaten; first at school, and then probably, again by his father at home.

In the adult world there were no consequences; if he skipped training nobody did anything about it and he wished they would. He wanted someone to take control of him; he was glad his father loved him enough to do so.

The caning was efficient, Mr Peterson was very experienced. First he placed a wooden chair in the middle of the dining room.

“Take down your trousers and underpants and bend over the chair, elbows flat on the seat in front.”

Roy blanched as he remembered how much agony he was left in after his last bare-bottomed caning. But, without a murmur, he did as instructed.

His father swished the cane through the air a couple of times and then tapped it on his son’s bottom to get his range, before slashing it hard onto the waiting target.

At about ten second intervals, he worked the cane down Roy’s quaking backside. The boy gasped as the first stroke flooded his brain with a sharp burning pain that had ignited his backside, then the second stroke lashed hard producing double the soreness, three, four and five went lower really stinging Roy’s bottom before number six lashed hard across the top of his thighs, making him scream in pain.

Mr Peterson had skilfully raised six angry weals across his buttocks. Roy would be unable to sit down in comfort for a day after.

The punishment over, Roy thanked his father. This was their customary ending to a caning; it was usually no more than a ritual, but, this time Roy really meant it; he hoped with his father’s encouragement he could improve as a rugby player and one day become a proper professional.

The next day at the club, Coach Needham noticed Roy wince as he sat on a hard wooden bench. He knew from the past what caused a boy to do this and was pleased; at least one of his rugby players would be playing to his full potential in future.


Other stories you might like.

The dope smoker

The man across the hall

 The drunken neighbour


More stories from Charles Hamilton II are on the MMSA website


Charles Hamilton the Second